1. Words

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about words. Well, to be honest, I think about words a lot at any given time, really. It’s true that maybe I have an obsession with words, but what I think about the most is the power of words. Words are our greatest weapon.

    I’ve been working with words ever since I can remember. I grew up writing and illustrating my own stories from the time I learned how to write. My storytelling stayed with me throughout school, and I somehow found my way into studying journalism and creative nonfiction writing in college. It seemed fitting, even though I later realized that perhaps a journalist’s life wasn’t the professional life I wanted to pursue for the rest of adulthood. 

    I credit my love for words and writing to my other love for reading. My vocabulary is so expansive thanks to the fact that I was also a bookworm from a very young age. I couldn’t get my hands on enough books as a kid. Always reading, always growing my own personal dictionary. Always adding words to my arsenal.

    I seem to always be thinking about the power of words and all the different ways that power manifests itself. Words can be powerful in the sense that they can move a person (or persons) to action. Or, words can be powerful by creating a bond, a guarantee, a promise. The power of words can also be painful when that bond, that guarantee, that promise is broken. I don’t really buy into that cliche, ”Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Like I said, words are our weapons, and when used against another person, they can be emotionally deadly.

    I am careful with my words because I remember their power. I meticulously craft my sentences, word by word, always cautious to choose the perfect ones to convey my precise message. It’s much easier to do this when writing, of course, when I have the luxury of editing, but even when I’m talking, if it’s a serious enough subject, I am hesitant. One ill-chosen word and the whole message is ruined. I know this because I have been both the victim and the perpetrator. 

    To me, one of the greatest offenses a person could commit against another person is to not choose their words intentionally. Empty promises, threats or carelessness hurts. At the same time, a lack of words has power. Silence can often mean more than a string of flawlessly selected words. Strangely, the absence of words is sometimes all you need to make complete sense of something.

    I could write for days about words, their power and their beauty. There is so much to say about the most finite parts of our language, but I have neither the time nor energy to do so at the moment. Perhaps I’ll revisit this subject another day, from another angle. But for now, my words, my weapons, need a rest.

     

  2. An Ode to the 2013 Denver Broncos

    Starting with a rocky summer
    Two execs suspended for DUIs,
    Von Miller messed with drugs,
    Come on, you know better, guys.

    Yet September rolled around
    With promise in the air,
    A stacked roster of stellar players
    To which no other team could compare.

    A first weekend redemption victory
    Over the team who took last year’s glory
    Set the tone for an almost-perfect season
    That would make for an almost-perfect story. 

    Six straight games were won,
    The first loss to Peyton’s old crew,
    But beating the Chiefs two times in one season
    Made me proud to wear orange and navy blue.

    Yet this was the season of Manning,
    Each week was a new record he’d break.
    Thank God we gave up Tebow and Orton,
    Especially Cutler and Jake the Snake. 

    The season came and went,
    Our team ended 13 and 3,
    With a number 1 seed in the playoffs,
    Our Super Bowl ticket was practically free.

    Down went San Diego and New England,
    Two teams earlier we struggled to beat.
    Celebration ensued not knowing
    That soon would come our ugly defeat.

    A crisp Sunday evening in New Jersey
    Set the scene for the ultimate game,
    But only 12 seconds in, a safety was scored,
    And Peyton already hung his head in shame. 

    The blows kept raining down,
    Our team hadn’t shown up to play,
    I held out hope for the second half,
    But my hope quickly slipped away.

    I stayed glued to my television screen
    Praying any minute a miracle would come,
    Not even the commercials cheered me up
    Because almost all of them were dumb.

    Minutes ticket away,
    Piece by piece my heart broke,
    Nobody knows what happened out there
    Yet some will call it a choke.

    The clock ran down to zero
    A Gatorade bath washed over Carroll,
    Our team looked crushed and defeated,
    Immensely suffering from this great peril.

    But I will not abandon you, Broncos,
    My ties of fandom I will never sever,
    I loved you last week, I loved you last night,
    And I will continue to love you forever.

    R.I.P. to what was almost the greatest season I’ve witnessed with the Broncos. While it pained me to witness last night’s abysmal defeat, I will always be proud of the accomplishments of the 2013 season. What a year for Denver. We’ll be back next year stronger than ever!

     

  3. #blessed

    Yep, I went there with the title of this blog. Cliche? Yes. But also true? Incredibly. Lately I have realized just how #blessed I am, and I keep thinking about it. To be honest, I actually can’t get it out of my mind. I think it’s so important to “count your blessings” and be thankful for all you’ve got, but sometimes I am completely overwhelmed by just how much I have. So overwhelmed, in fact, that I figured blogging it out would be the best way for me to work through my #blessings and figure out what to do about them. Or with them.

    I’ve thought a lot about my various blessings:

    Education. Setting aside my incredible extra-curricular experience at Mizzou, the education I received there is something I’m still referencing daily. Even better, I’m in graduate school now pursuing a master’s degree. The fact that I have the opportunity to do such a thing blows my mind. Truly. My parents have always encouraged me to further my learning, and I haven’t set a limit on my learning. I may be biased since I’m going in to higher education, but being blessed with a good education may be one of the most important blessings one could have.

    Money. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m still a “broke college kid” (we just call ourselves “broke grad school kids” now), but even that seems silly to say. I have a roof over my head. A car. A collection of Apple products. A closet full of clothes. So, so SO many material possessions. I’m certainly not “rich” by society’s standards, nor do I desire to be, but I have so much more than I need. While sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, I’m far from broke. And when I really am in a pinch and running low on money, my parents have always been there to help me out. Sometimes it seems like I spend too much time stressing on my lack of money (a graduate assistant’s salary isn’t that pretty, after all), but I have to remember where I stand compared to the billions of other humans on this planet. Too blessed. I feel ridiculous when I worry if I should spend money on Starbucks today or not; what a trivial concern.

    Opportunity. I think this lends itself a lot to my education I’m getting, but I’ve never been short on fantastic opportunities. The opportunity to travel the country and the world, the opportunity to participate in life-changing service trips, the opportunity to move across the country for school. I think about all the things I’ve done, even in just the past few years, and I’m just in awe. The life experiences I’ve had are some that other people may dream of having, but I’ve been given so many so freely that it’s hard to comprehend sometimes.

    Health. Aside from the occasional cold or flu that anyone may catch, I have great health. No long-term illnesses or diseases. Strong legs that carry me through all the miles I love to run. A metabolism that’s still kicking. The means to get regular check-ups for my body, my teeth, my eyes. The fact that I rarely have to be concerned about my health is a blessing that I don’t appreciate often enough.

    Skills. In my short 22 years of life, I’ve picked up enough skills to last me the rest of my lifetime, and I know I’ll just continue to gain more and more as life goes on. Time management, communication, teamwork, leadership, technological, interpersonal…the list could go on and on. Thanks to my blessings of education and opportunity, I’ve gained many of these skills. In turn, my skills have pushed me further and further ahead in life.

    People: A loving, supportive family. A circle of friends who are too great for words, but who teach me new things, have fun with me, hear me out when I’m struggling and inspire me to be my best. I think of this blessing especially often, because as I moved away from my college days, I’m impressed at how much I still talk to my very best friends. What a blessing it is to be surrounded by people who love you, who want only the best for you and who will help you get wherever you need to go.

    Happiness: I’ve recognized that my complaints, worries and troubles in life pale in comparison to others’, so I try not to waste time feeling sorry or sad for myself. I’ve been through abysmally dark days, but I’ve bounced back, and since then, I can find very few reasons to be unhappy with the life I’ve been given. After all, look at all these blessings I’ve just reviewed. How can I be sad with all of these? It’s an enormous blessing to be given the mental strength to have a glass-half-full perspective and to maintain a positive outlook so much of the time. 

    I certainly wouldn’t say I have a ton in any one of those categories, but what I do have in each is so much more than many people in the world can say. I don’t mean to brag on what I’ve got, that’s not the point of this, because like I said, it isn’t a surplus. It’s enough for me, way more than enough. I have more than my fair share of blessings that I can thank God for. So how do we deal with that? How can we make sense of the blessings we’ve been given? 

    It’s truly so hard lately for me to wrap my head around it, all these blessings that I’ve got. They’re more than I could ask for and more than I deserve, but yet here I am with all of them. When I turn to complain about something or when I’m having a bad day, I look to my blessings. What a life I have. What a life I have that I can use to impact others.

    As I’ve gotten more in touch with my faith over the years, of course I’ve given infinite praise and thanks to God for giving me these blessings. Yet it doesn’t seem like enough. Accepting, dealing with and using my blessings to the best of my abilities will be something that I continue to ponder and struggle with.

    So where do I go from here? I’ve blogged my way through my blessings to try and make sense of them, and while it hasn’t gotten me far, I’ve at least been able to organize my thoughts a bit better than they were. 

    The best way I can rationalize my blessings is to use them for good. I am constantly trying to find ways to use each of my blessings to benefit others. How can I use those skills I’ve been blessed with to help others? How is my education going to benefit others aside from myself? After all, what would be the point of keeping all those blessings to ourselves when we could be making a difference in so many ways?

     

  4. Recap of 2013

    One of my favorite things I’ve done on my blog for the past few years has been my photo review of each year as it passes. Without further ado, here’s a look at my most memorable moments from each month of 2013:

    January

    One of the biggest changes happened in earlier January…I got bangs! And nobody recognized me for a couple weeks after that. I also finally got to see one of my favorite artists in concert with Josh and Teagan: Ellie Goulding! She was fantastic live.

    February

    For me, February was interview month. I interviewed for a graduate program at University of Georgia and for the Leadership Development Consultant job for Kappa Delta. Plus, who could forget the second coming of snowpocalypse in CoMo when we missed a few more days of school?

    March

    March came in like a lion with my 22nd birthday (which, as I decided, since we didn’t have a pope at the time, I could stay 21 for an extra week…no pope no rules). I attended my last Tour Team brunch at the Deaton’s house, made a trip up to Wisconsin to visit Lara for a weekend and had an unforgettable spring break in Chicago working with kids and adults with disabilities who all changed my life for the better.

    April 

    April was a month of fun as I prepared myself to graduate from Mizzou soon after. Mom came up to CoMo for Mom’s Weekend and we had a blast at the winery and a Tour Team get-together. Me, Rachel, Matt and Tanner made it to an opening weekend Cards game against the Brewers (when the Cards unfortunately lost), and I brought roughly 12 dates to KD’s final Flamingo Flock.

    May

    ALL of the emotions came in the month of May. We started the month with a beautiful AASB senior banquet where I was honored to be one of the four Hall of Fame members for the year. Then…it happened. KD senior night, senior Sendoff, graduation, post-grad winery lunch. The end of four excellent years at Mizzou. Soon after, it was a Carolina road trip for me, Tanner and Matt. We hit up Asheville, Duke, UNC and USC so I could finally visit the school I’d be attending a few months later.

    June

    I made a point to have as much fun as possible during my last summer in CoMo. June brought me a crazy weekend in Chicago, several Bengals patio nights and a trip to Busch Stadium to surprise my parents on their anniversary. 

    July 

    One of my favorite summer memories was getting Laura, Megan, Rachel, Trey, Matt, Tanner and Alan together to head to Bull Shoals Lake for swimming, tubing, jet skiing, cliff jumping shenanigans. I also made a quick getaway to Crested Butte, Colorado, to visit my cousin for a couple days and fell in love with Colorado all over again. Yet at the end of July, I packed up everything I own and left CoMo for the last time as a resident. It was heartbreaking, yet exciting to start a new chapter in the other Columbia.

    August

    After a 14.5 hour drive and a couple days of unpacking with my parents, I was all moved in to my new South Carolina home! I spent a day on the beach in Charleston, started graduate school classes at USC and went to my first Gamecocks football game (a victory against North Carolina)!

    September

    The first days of September was Labor Day weekend, and on a total whim, I booked a plane ticket on Friday night to leave Saturday at 7 a.m. for Boston to visit Lara at Tufts vet school. Plus, we went hiking in New Hampshire and even went to Thoreau’s Walden Pond. I attended more USC football games, went to a professor’s cabin for a weekend and learned how to shoot a musket and ran the Color Run with some HESA ladies.

    October

    October was one of my favorite months this year. I went on my very first backpacking trips in the mountains of NC with Martha Scott, and we somehow survived. I attended and presented at my first student affairs conference in Wake Forest, then traveled down to the Georgia/Mizzou game in Athens with Tanner, John and Lauren to watch Mizzou WIN! The next week, I went up to Chapel Hill for fall break, experienced Raleigh’s trolley pub biking excursion and saw my first UNC football game on Zero Dark Thursday. Finally, the moment I’d been waiting for since graduation, Tanner and I flew back to STL and went to Mizzou’s 102nd homecoming! Despite a heartbreaking loss to South Carolina, it was so wonderful to be home with my best friends and even my dad and sister.

    November

    College football continued into November, too. I went with my roommate Sadie to Florida State, her alma mater, for their homecoming. Though of course it didn’t come close to Mizzou’s homecoming, it was pretty impressive and awesome to see a team that’s now heading to the National Championship play. I watched one of USC’s greatest traditions, Tigerburn, and was happy that the Gamecocks crushed Clemson for the 5th year in a row. But more importantly, my Mizzou Tigers clinched the SEC East championship in just our second year in the conference! To end November, this was my first Thanksgiving I wasn’t able to be home for, so I was very happy to be able to spend Thanksgiving in the mountains of Asheville with Tanner and his family…and dogs!

    December

    Of course I HAD to go to the SEC Championship in Atlanta, a matchup of Tigers, Mizzou vs. Auburn, where we made it on CBS national TV cheering at our tailgate. It was great to meet up with Lauren, Matt, Adam, Tanner and John for the weekend. Finally, after over 4 months, winter break came and I was home in Springfield! My sister turned 20, I caught a basketball game at Mizzou, had a wild Tour Team reunion in Kansas City and rang in the New Year just like last: in CoMo, this time with Caleb, Rachel, Matt, Adam and Ross.

    I would say that 2013 was easily the best year yet. There was a lot of change, much of which was incredibly hard to adjust to, but I’m happy I’ve challenged myself in so many ways last year. I know that 2014 will be even better - Ireland, the 4k for Cancer cross-country summer run, weddings and another Mizzou homecoming are just a few things I’m already looking forward to. With each year I find more and more blessings in my life, and 2014 will bring many more. Cheers!

     

  5. MO No Mo’

    I just noticed that the last time I blogged was the end of July. It’s like I blinked, and suddenly it’s mid-December now. Where has the time gone? And why haven’t I documented its passing?

    Admittedly, I’m a tad ashamed of myself for how long it’s been since I’ve last written. Writing is my own therapy, my way to process thoughts and feelings, but it’s also a way for me to remember years from now what I did. I’ve failed at that since late July, and so many things have changed since then. So I’ll do my best at catching up to speed with myself.

    August 3 was the day that I uprooted my entire life from the state of Missouri for the first time ever. I moved around plenty since college started, but this was the biggest move of them all. I packed as much clothing, housewares and memories as I could, then hit the trail to South Carolina.

    I have started working on my master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of South Carolina. I went from one Columbia to another, but my life in each Columbia has been completely different. 

    The adjustment to the other Columbia took much longer than I would have liked. I assumed that I’d move to SC, be sad and lonely for a couple weeks, then make some friends and be perfectly content. That was not the case. Although I have made a ton of new friends whom are all wonderful and supportive people, it didn’t make the 900+ mile move any easier. 

    I spent most of my first semester missing home like crazy. It broke my heart to see friends visiting Mizzou so often and to see them still getting to spend time with one another while I’m alone on the other side of the country. I had never felt so isolated from where my heart still was. Coming home for Mizzou’s 102nd homecoming helped quite a bit, though. It was nice to get a taste of the good ol days and to be reunited with my best friends.

    I’ve managed to keep in touch with many friends in various ways, and have even managed to see a few of them while I’ve been out here. It has helped me realize that life goes on past “the best four years of your life,” albeit a very different life. 

    My first semester of grad school brought its own challenges and triumphs. Classes were, surprisingly, fairly easy, probably because for the first time ever I actually love what I’m learning. I’m fascinated, I’m interested, I enjoy doing my reading assignments. It’s so refreshing to be doing something I love and to feel like I made the right career choice. 

    Getting to go to USC football games and cheer on the Gamecocks has been a blast. I’m slowly but surely learning to love my new school, even though I knew I’d never love it as my first true love (Mizzou). Gaining pride in a new school is exciting, though. It just gives you more teams to cheer for and more opportunities to win every weekend!

    Living in “the south” has probably been the biggest, and hardest, adjustment for me. I wasn’t raised in the south or with a southern mentality, so there are a lot of things here that are strange and foreign to me. I don’t know that I’ll ever fully adjust to the south, but I do know that I will appreciate the time I spend living here because it’s teaching me a lot about the differences in people and their beliefs.

    Within just four months of living here, I managed to get around quite a bit in my new area of the United States. I visited Boston/Massachusetts, Vermont, North Carolina, Missouri, Florida, Georgia and all over the state of South Carolina. “Adventure is out there,” as one of my favorite movies reminds me. Next semester’s adventures will take me over the pond to Ireland for spring break, and next summer’s adventures will take me across the entire country from coast to coast on foot. One thing is for certain, no matter where I live, I don’t like to stay in one place for too long, but I always like to return home.

    Here I am now, one semester of four under my belt, packing and preparing to head home for the holidays. 4 months and 8 days without being in my own home has been far too long for me, yet strangely, I’m realizing that I will actually miss being in South Carolina while I’m gone for a few weeks. I have finally established myself here, and it’s already time for a break.

    Despite having a lot of rough days to overcome and a lot of homesickness and missing friends, coming to USC has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. It’s challenged me in very different ways than I have been challenged in the past and has helped me grow and mature. But for now, I will happily take a few weeks back in the best state in the nation: Missouri, I’m coming home.

     

  6. A farewell

    Somehow, the past 4 years of my life have flown by me and, apparently, I have to move away from the great city of Columbia in a few short days. For anyone who knows me and my obsession with CoMo and Mizzou, I’m sure you can imagine how heartbreaking this is for me. But there are so many wonderful things about this place that I’d like to remember forever, and what better to do that than with a blog? So here we have it, an ode to the best moments of my life during my 4 years at Mizzou.

    August 2009 - Bid Day

    After a stressful, exhausting week of sorority recruitment, my favorite sorority of the week offered me a bid, and so began my journey as a Kappa Delta. Little did I know, KD would become a big part of my next 4 years.

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    September 2009 - Suitemate Love

    The biggest part of my freshman year experience at Mizzou was the fact that I lived with 3 amazing women. Melissa, Stefanie, Caity and I were the perfect suitemates.

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    March 2010 - Got hired for Tour Team

    I started my freshman year as a tour guide at Mizzou, which over the years gave me my best friends and plenty of fun memories.

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    April 2010 - Ran my first half marathon in St. Louis

    I started getting into running once I came to college and successfully finished my first half marathon my freshman year.

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    October 2010 - Mizzou beats #1 Oklahoma for homecoming

    By some miracle, Mizzou pulled off a win against #1 ranked OU. It was by far the best game I saw at Faurot in my 4 years at Mizzou, complete with rushing the field and taking the goal post to Harpo’s afterward. Plus, my daddy got to join me for a tour of the athletic training complex before the game.

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    November 2010 - Got selected for Alumni Association Student Board

    After a very early wake-up ending on Faurot Field, I found out I’d been selected for AASB. This group also became my family at Mizzou and I got the chance to help put on some awesome Mizzou traditions alongside these friends.

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    February 2011 - Snowpocalypse #1

    The first time Mizzou’s had a snow day in forever, and of course it happened while I was there. We hadn’t seen this much snow in Missouri in a long time, so we celebrated…

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    April 2011 - Ran my first full marathon in St. Louis

    26.2 miles sounds like a long way…and it is…especially when it’s over 90 degrees when you’re running it. It’s a miracle I finished at all, but somehow I did it. And it’s especially worth it when you go to the Lil Wayne/Nicki Minaj concert that night!

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    June 2011 - Kappa Delta National Convention in Tucson

    It was my first national gathering as a Kappa Delta, and it was nothing but inspiring. I spent a few days in Tucson with the other council members from Mizzou, plus hundreds of KDs young and old from all over the country.

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    August 2011 - My recruitment

    After months and months of planning, organizing and losing my mind on a daily basis, the ONE week I had been working for came. I was Vice President - Membership for KD and pulled off a wonderful recruitment with the help of my sisters.

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    October 2011 - Tour Team takes on Texas

    Each year, TT goes on an away game roadtrip thanks to tickets from Coach Pinkel. This year, we saw Mizzou win at Texas A&M in double overtime. Oh, and I should mention that the Cardinals also beat the Rangers in Game 7 of the World Series while we were in Texas. Bonus!

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    November 2011 - First season as a Girls on the Run coach

    I was so happy to have found a program like GOTR that teaches 3rd-5th grade girls to have self-confidence while helping them train to run a 5k. This was the first of several awesome seasons coaching at Fairview Elementary.

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    February 2012 - MIZ beat kU

    At our last home game against kU, the Tigers pulled off a 74-71 win. I’ve never seen at atmosphere like that at Mizzou Arena. That rivalry was incredible, it will be missed.

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    February 2012 - KD’s NCTA in Atlanta/Corre Award

    The National Collegiate Training Academy for KD was held in Atlanta this year. I was currently our president, and our entire council got to go. I was surprised to find I received the Corre Anding Stegall Leadership Award, which was an enormous honor for me as a collegiate KD.

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    March 2, 2012 - I turned 21

    This was either the best or worst thing that’s ever happened to me. There was plenty of celebration after this!

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    June 2012 - Summer #1 in CoMo

    Lots of tours in the heat, selling True Tiger memberships to incoming freshmen, a wild 4th of July, trips to KC and STL for Cardinals games, a trip to Texas to visit Adrienne’s family and a quick journey to Colorado. That’s the easiest way to sum up a summer that was way too much fun.

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    August 2012 - Tiger Walk on the Columns

    One AASB tradition is that the seniors always stand on the columns during Tiger Walk when all the new freshmen run through the columns. This is easily one of my favorite memories of my 4 years at Mizzou.

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    September 2012 - Winery field trip

    The best class I took at Mizzou was a Wine Country Writing class. It was only an 8 week class, complete with a 4-day field trip touring several wineries in southeast Missouri. Needless to say, I got an A in that class.

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    September 2012 - Mizzou KD helped Iowa State KD

    One of KD’s oldest chapter, Iowa State, was recolonizing their chapter. We, along with members of national headquarters and a few Iowa State KD women, helped recruit over 80 new members to restart their chapter.

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    October 2012 - 101st Homecoming celebrations

    This year’s homecoming was one of my favorites because a ton of my graduated friends came home, plus several of my senior friends were nominated for king and queen. I was Helena’s date to the royalty banquet, and we had too much fun that night.

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    November 2012 - Tour Team takes on Tennessee

    This year’s roadtrip game was just the seniors to Knoxville, where the Tigers won after an astounding 4 overtimes. The bars of Knoxville were full of black and gold that night!

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    February 2013 - My last Mizzou 39 banquet

    This was by far the most special Mizzou 39 banquet I went to as a AASBer because this year, so many of my best friends were honored.

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    March 2013 - Alternative Spring Break Chicago

    Kyle and I led an ASB trip to Chicago to work with kids and adults with disabilities. Not only was the service amazing, but all 11 of us on the trip became the best family.

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    May 2013 - I graduated?

    Yep. Scary. Somehow that actually happened at the end of this year. After the journalism graduation Friday night and the early Saturday morning honors graduation, a celebratory lunch at the winery was necessary.

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    If I could have included every memory from the past 4 years, this blog would have been endless. Over the years, I made trips to Wisconsin, Colorado, Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Chicago, New Orleans, St. Louis, Kansas City and everywhere in between. 

    I’m closing a chapter of my life living in CoMo. It’s my hope that someday far down the road, I’ll be back here again to work at Mizzou and live happily ever after. Mizzou has made me the woman I am today and has shown me what I’m passionate about in life. I’ve gained skills, friends and memories that I wouldn’t trade for the world. And if I could, I’d relive the last 4 years of my life in a heartbeat. But for now, I have some new adventures and new dreams to chase out in South Carolina.

    Of course it’s not goodbye to CoMo. It’s never goodbye, it’s always see ya later. So, CoMo, see you in October for my first alumni homecoming. Mizzou is playing my grad school, South Carolina, and I will be ecstatic to come home, wear my best black and gold, and cheer my Tigers on. Because after all, once a Tiger, always a Tiger. See you soon, Mizzou, from the -ZOU side of life!

     

  7. With less than a month left living in CoMo, a city that has been my home and life for the past 4 years, I thought this was an appropriate dedication to this place.

     

  8. "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land."
    — Psalm 37:7-9.
     

  9. Say what you wanna say
    And let the words fall out
    Honestly I wanna see you be brave”

     

  10. The resilience of a runner

    Marathon Monday is practically a national holiday for runners. The third Monday in April, Patriots Day, you can count on the Boston Marathon happening. I’m always tuned into Twitter on this day especially because I love to see the talent and hard work these runners put in.

    The Boston Marathon is the pinnacle of marathons for most runners. Depending on your age, you have to run in a qualifying race and beat a certain time to even qualify to register. Once I got into running, I made it a goal of mine to run Boston someday.

    Marathon Monday rolled around this year, and as per usual, I was on Twitter that morning to start reading race hype. Once the race started, tweets started coming in with times of leaders. The woman winner finished in 2:26:25; the male winner came in at 2:10:23. To put that into perspective: the first time I ran a HALF marathon, my time was right around 2 hours. These athletes are incredible.

    The next time my phone buzzed about Boston was an ESPN update about explosions at the marathon course. Confused and in a rush to get somewhere, I told myself I’d look later. When I did, I was astounded.

    At this point, most people have probably read the reports or seen the videos of the two bombs that exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Most people have probably seen the photos of the streets covered in blood stains, or the photos of racers being carried off the course. 

    3 people are dead. Over 140 are injured. I understand that terrorist attacks are always horrific, but to me, this one was unfathomable. The people at this race are people who have dedicated much of their life to running. They have trained countless hours running countless miles to get to where they were. Now many of them will never run again.

    Several of those who were injured no longer have limbs. They no longer have arms to raise triumphantly as they cross their next finish line, they no longer have legs to propel them the 26.2 exhausting miles to get there. I cannot imagine a worse punishment for these incredible athletes.

    Marathon Monday should have been a day of celebration and honor for the athletes running Boston, but instead it was a day of tragedy, confusion and loss. I’ve seen so many tweets of people who finished the race but feel guilty, or people who have said it didn’t feel like a real accomplishment to have ran Boston this year. This, too, is a tragedy.

    I’ve been feeling down ever since the bombings occurred last Monday. I will never understand why there are hateful people in the world, and it will never make sense to me why someone did this. I reflected back on my first marathon, and although there was a heat warning and I almost passed out from heat exhaustion when I crossed the finish line, I have never felt so accomplished in my life. In the post-race pain and agony, I swore I’d never run another marathon again, but I know that I will and that someday I will cross the finish line in Boston. I am so heartbroken to think that there are some people who made it that far and weren’t able to cross that finish line and may never have the chance to again.

    Marathon Monday’s tragedy was unfair and disheartening, but there is always hope. It’s been wonderful to read reports of people already doing so much to help Boston. This bombing will forever change the course of race history in the future, but if there’s one thing I know for certain, the running community is resilient. Runners will not be stopped by this, and they will not give up on their dreams and goals of running Boston someday despite this incident. Runners will continue to stick together and support and encourage one another each and every day, especially in the wake of this event. One of the best parts about being a “runner” is this community you enter into when you go to bigger races, and it’s something I will always love. (Side note, I use the word “runner” lightly. If you got outside and did an 18-mile training run today, you’re a runner. If you got off the couch and ran down your street today, you’re a runner.)

    Already, the running community has begun to log their miles to #RunForBoston. Almost 4,000 runners have contributed to a Google form online so far, and the list is growing. Last Tuesday I grabbed an old race shirt, a pair of running shoes and a Sharpie. I marked #RunForBoston on the back of my left shoe and hit the pavement. I only had time for 3 miles, but considering how out of shape I’ve gotten over the past few months, 3 miles was plenty for me. I spent my entire run thinking about running and the people I love. I reflected a lot on the Marathon Monday bombing and how many people were harmed from it, and I had a lot to reflect on and be thankful for in my own life.

    Now that one of the bombing suspects has been caught and the other died, Boston can breathe a little easier, yet they are still mourning the loss of a few and the harm done to many. The support they have received from across the country has been inspiring though. I know that Boston, too, is resilient and will bounce back in the wake of such a horrifying occurrence. They receive my continual prayers, and they receive the strength in my accumulating miles.